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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Exposed (APd10)

We're running late. Caling told me to wake up at 4:30 and be ready by 5, only to wake up at 5 himself and we left at 5:30. I felt like Germans invited for a Spanish party starting at 10 PM. Hint: don't show up before 1 AM and definitely don't stand in front of the door until let in, if you come at 9:59.

It's a shame as the river we're crossing wears a cap of sleepy morning mist, and coupled with the paddies strewn up above it resembles Instagram images skillfully planted in the coutryside. But I'm too sleepy and too stressed out.

all decent folk is still asleep

The jeep is naturally late as well. I load up my bag and wait.

This peaceful moment is when the Indian secret police hits me up.

another jeep driver ratted me out

imagine getting caught further up north ---

calm before the storm

I've learned to recognize them in Dharamshala. They look like ordinary folks, but speak Oxford English with manners to match the speech. Their "it might be better if..." is a flashback to my very British boss in Italy. Following her suggestion in my way nearly got me fired. This time I know to listen.

public info board / operation Save the Foreigner

AP is like Sikkim. There are multiple layers and each needs its own permit. While I could indeed (in theory) get a permit to see the border in Tuting, to get there, I need yet another permit. Like in Sikkim, only granted to at least a couple of foreigners at once. Strictly speaking, I'm already illegal in Yingkiong, as the cop softly points out.

last look around Yingkiong. and it was such a nice day, too ...

The bag comes off again.

I'm let go with a stern look and apologies for the inconvenience and Caling whisks me away to Omak's.

That's when the phone call bonanza ensues. Calling up Katon, Mone, prime minister of tourism in Delhi - Omak's connections reach far - while there's a delegation of local farmers waiting, whom Omak is meant to be now helping with setting up a business.

If you ask for help, better be ready for the consequences.

Would you rather spend 30 minutes waiting...:

a) with 4 guys telling you in Hindi how pretty you are

b) in a 4-wheel boiler slowwwly being loaded up

comment below ---

(answer is both in a sequence)

In the meanwhile another policeman tracks me down at Omak's, although he's got no English. Meaning he's local. But I'm definitely on file. He takes my phone number, the one I've been sold under the shopkeep's name. The cop is a litle confused, when my name in his app comes up as Mr. Singh...

and that's as far east as it goes

legally or not

in the mighty

Himalayas

He's adamant, however, that I am not allowed in the area. And the only thing that gets him back on the beat is a ticket back to Pasighat for a certain unfortunate traveller. I'm cordially welcome - once my papers are in ordnung.

And even though Katon said, when I initially asked, that I can go, and then told me that he's very happy to help if anything comes up, the morning flurry hits the limits of his patience and he refuses to help any further. It's not a good day overall, two of his relatives are off to a hospital and he himself has to attend a law court session.

cafe recuperation: updating 50+ apps on each device

The ride back in a jeep takes half the time of Caling's car, which was older than either of us.

Silver lining - in the afternoon I could finally get back to looking for someone who can spread a word about us and all the fun we're having travelling. If you have the know-how and would like to help out, this is the last call!

(Contract is void if the secret police come and arrest me, but I think I should be fine.)

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